Wednesday, April 23, 2014

GRU students to offer free health screenings at local nursery

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Health sciences students at Georgia Regents University will offer free health screenings at the 8th Annual Costa Layman Health Fair from 7:30 a.m. to noon Friday, July 19 in Trenton, S.C. The health fair is organized by the GRU College of Nursing, under the leadership of Dr. Pam Cromer, and is sponsored by the college’s Clinical Nurse Leader program, with support from the Colleges of Dental Medicine, Allied Health Sciences, and the Medical College of Georgia. New this year is the development of a relationship with Dr. Yanbin Dong, Dr. Jigar Bhagatwala, and others in the Georgia Prevention Center’s “Public Health Collaborative Partnership” for ongoing population health assessments.

Approximately 340 Costa Layman employees will receive free health assessments, including lab work, dental screenings, and screenings for height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, vision, dental, skin, grip strength testing, heel bone density, sleep apnea screening, pulmonary function, and exhaled nitric oxide.

Multidisciplinary student led screenings will be directed by GRU’s multiprofessional faculty teams. Other faculty will include Dr. Andrew Mazzoli and Dr. Carol Hanes who have worked with the health fair for many years. In addition, Dr. Miriam Cortez-Cooper and her students will be screening for hand/grip strength, and Dr. Mariana D’Amico will be instructing workers on good body mechanics and proper lifting and bending. GRU Librarian Peter Shipman will distribute handouts on various health disparities. With a focus on health prevention, students and faculty will provide group and individual health education and counseling sessions specific to screening booths.

“Over the last eight years, the Costa Layman Health Fair has performed nearly 2,500 health screenings,” said Debbie Layman, Manager at Costa Layman Farms, one of the largest perennial farms in the United States. “The glucose, cholesterol, and vitamin D screenings are simple tests that can empower employees to make decisions that will positively impact their future health.”

“This event is very engrained in the culture of the nursery,” Layman said. “The Health Fair gives us an opportunity to benefit our employees by offering comprehensive health screenings while they are at the work site. Many people, who work at Costa Layman did not grow up with regular health care, do not know how to navigate the health care system or are afraid of going to the doctor. The health care professionals providing the screenings are some of the most highly regarded in our area and over the years have built a relationship of trust and confidence with our employees. The screenings offered provide both peace of mind that all is well or that information needed to make educated choices about how to seek the proper health care solution will be received. This Health Fair shows the impact a collaboration between a university and a private employer can have when partnering together to provide high quality health care and resources in the work setting.”

The GRU Ryan White Program, led by David Thompson, will return for the eighth year and share results from HIV testing with farm workers, most of whom are Spanish speaking. Certified Translators, led by Vivian Rice in the Department of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services at GRU, will serve as on-site interpreters. The Georgia Prevention Center at GRU and St. Vincent De Paul Health Clinic will perform additional lab work and provide referrals to appropriate medical professionals for follow up. Other organizations participating in the health fair will include Carolina Health Centers, Inc. of McCormick, SC, Eye Care One & Eye Care One Laser Vision Center of Augusta.

This “Academic-Community Partnership Model” is key in GRU’s outreach programs throughout the university. It is a premier example of how a multidisciplinary healthcare workforce can approach our communities and businesses and demonstrate the capacity to work collaboratively with health teams to efficiently extend needed health services to populations and communities. With a movement toward healthier communities, the delivery of primary care to work sites and communities has far reaching implications for improving the health of our populations and the education of our future healthcare workforce.

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